A woman does a hormonal blood test to check for menopause

A new ruling could chip away at the Affordable Care Act. Most in the U.S. see health care as a basic right

A federal judge in Texas ruled on Thursday that parts of the Affordable Care Act are unconstitutional, jeopardizing screenings for diseases like cancer and other key preventative services for nearly 168 million people nationwide. The Biden administration filed an appeal Friday.

“The Administration will continue to fight to improve health care and make it more affordable for hard-working families, even in the face of attacks from special interests,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

WATCH: Federal judge rules against key preventative care requirements of Affordable Care Act

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, who has targeted other provisions within the landmark health care law, called the ACA “unlawful” in his ruling. At stake is insurance coverage of potentially life-saving preventative care.

Preventative services and screenings that have been free under the Affordable Care Act: Breast cancer screening, Prediabetes screening, Depression screening, Hypertension screening, Intimate partner violence screening, Flu shot, Hepatitis A, B and C tests

After more than a decade of political and legal turmoil swirling around the ACA, the vast majority of U.S. adults – eight out of 10 – say all Americans have a basic right to health care coverage, according to the latest PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll.

A poll graphic that shows that U.S. adults see health care coverage as a basic right for all Americans

In addition, nearly two-thirds say the federal government is responsible for guaranteeing the health care coverage of every American. That includes nearly all Democrats, a majority of independents and a third of Republicans.

This latest polling data shows “pretty strong numbers” and suggest the ACA has come a long way in generating public support, said Lara Brown, director of the Graduate School of Political Management at the George Washington University.

A chart showing support for the idea that it is the government's responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage

Over the last 13 years, she said, “it became part of people’s lives. Now it’s the third rail. You can’t talk about getting rid of it because people have come to accept and expect that benefit.”

— Graphics by Megan McGrew